Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm

Accommodating your estate plan to reflect a blended family

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Countless people in California are on their second or even third marriages. Often, this leads to blended families, which are becoming more and more common. While creating your estate plan, it’s important to take certain steps to accommodate your new family members.

Change your will and powers of attorney

One way to ensure your blended family is taken care of while you are revising your estate plan is to make changes to your will. You’ll want to remove your former spouse’s name and add your current spouse in their place to ensure that the right person receives your assets.

Your financial and medical powers of attorney should also reflect your blended family. You may want to name your new spouse as your agent to handle the finances and ensure your healthcare wishes are upheld if you’re unable to voice them in the future.

Update beneficiary designations

You might have one person in mind to inherit your financial accounts like your retirement and life insurance; usually, that would be your spouse. While it’s appropriate to name your current spouse as your primary beneficiary, they shouldn’t be the only person named. A contingent beneficiary should also be named in case your spouse passes away before you. This ensures that someone receives your assets. Likewise, if your former spouse is still named as a beneficiary, you should change your beneficiary designations immediately.

Provide for stepchildren

If your blended family includes stepchildren, you might want to reflect that in your estate plan. Naming them in your legal documents and even setting up a trust might be necessary if you wish to leave more assets to your biological children. You don’t have to treat your stepchildren equally to your biological kids.